Saturday, April 25, 2009

Customer's Topiary Dragon

Susan doesn't just sell houses. She makes topiary dragons in her spare time. Topiaries are easy and they are a nice project to do for kids.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Customer Requested Compost Info

Lets Talk About Us-Or Our Gardens Anyway

Mary-Ann's Garden
You've all seen her at the store, and I bet a fat lot of you have wished you could follow her home just to see what her yard looks like. Ssssshhhh. Get down! She'll see you. Okay, let's take a look at what this H&Z Nursery Manager has going on.

Well, would you look at those Snap Dragons and Violas! They are gorgeous. Cool season annuals play a big role in a Spring landscape. The trick is planting them in Fall, fertilizing them, and making sure to amend your beds with compost. Oh, and water helps too.

Herbs are fantastic in containers, but check out her use of a Buddha! You, of course, could add any object of your choosing.

Also note that she has chosen two herbs (Rosemary and Sage) that prefer the same dry soil conditions.

Choosing plants that have contrasting leaf shapes, like these, makes the container look less busy. It's what makes it pop-that and the sleeping guy.

When you choose a container, look for one that is big enough for your plants and some interesting found object. Found objects play a big part in Mary-Ann's garden aesthetic.

Getting The Look In Your Garden

You've got to have courage. Fear will have you saying, "A Phrenology head doesn't go in a garden! What will ______ say when she sees?"

Those of you who enjoy yard sales and flea markets should look for cool finds like:

chipped pots, sculptures, bowling balls, bottles, rusted whatever, and, most definitely, the bizarre!

It's not about being perfect. It's about collecting specimens and showing them off like a natural history museum!

Room For Edibles
If you'd love to have a Burpless Cucumber patch, here is a way to do it on the cheap! Select a sunny area against your privacy fence and staple up some trellis netting. Dig out a bed just below and amend the soil with good organic mushroom compost or cow manure. Finally, a front edge of your choosing gives the cucumber area a finished look.

Use this idea for other vines too!

Christine's Garden
I started a vegetable garden in my side yard last year with the addition of a raised bed made by my husband, Superman.

I grew frustrated by only getting a few cherry tomatoes and peppers at a time, so I decided to expand the bed this Winter.

I made a border of brick pavers around my raised bed so that I could easily make my way around. After that I dug another bed directly into the ground.

To amend the soil, I used a mixture of things. On the side visible hear I used mushroom compost and top soil. My Blackseeded Simpson and Romaine seem to be enjoying it.

On the other side I chose to try chicken manure for the first time. It has more nitrogen, and boy does it back a punch to the ol' nose. Peee-yew. While putting it out I thought, "This stuff is crap! It's all gummy and nasty." Ahh, but my egg plants are thriving now. (No photo-but trust me.)

Take a gander at this Squash plant underworld. They grew so quickly, and some have started setting fruit. I don't mind telling you that I've got some problems.

1. Blossom End Rot-I've started using a calcium spray that we carry at the store to try and put an end to it. I'll use it on the zucchini and tomatoes soon as well.

2. I've noticed some bacterial disease on the leaves of my zucchini. This is becoming a royal pain in the tookus, because I was going to try and remain organic. I may have to resort to spraying something. It starts in the soil, so replacing the plant probably wouldn't do any good. The best I can do is clip out bad leaves, avoid watering from the top, and cuss.

The Good News

I got some tasty strawberries to put in a salad the other night. They're shaded from the squash leaves, and I think this is helping them develop some size before they ripen.

We happen to be out of strawberry plants at our Wilmington Island store, at this very second, but call 897-5581 to see if some arrive on today's delivery. We'll get more in soon, if not.

Got some blueberries. In all fairness, these bushes are in another bed, but I couldn't resist showing off these beauties. I saw a few missing recently. I may end up having to cover them with netting.

We have blueberry plants at the store. Just remember to pick up two different varieties so that you will have cross pollination.

Let this photo on the right be a little thumb to the nose for all of you who complain about not having enough blooms. Not a single one in this picture, and yet look at all of the appeal. These Swiss Chard leaves (in the center) are great to put in a vase. I did so recently for our anniversary party. Joining them were some Loropetalum branches, and my older sister was quite impressed.

Finally, I must give a shout-out to the Sugar Snap Pea. They have been performing so well for me. I've made teepees out of bamboo and twine, and it seems to be working nicely. I prefer these babies raw. The whole pod can be eaten as a healthy snack.

Got garden photos? Email us your ups and downs at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Savannah Garden Expo-H&Z's Exhibition Garden

The Making Of The Mighty Hester & Zipperer

"We have to do the Garden Expo, Mary-Ann," I said a few months ago. "You know it's in the middle of Spring, right?" she cautioned.

Her step-dad, Buddy, designed and helped build the wood structure that would hold our pirate ship garden. I couldn't wait for the painting to begin. Before I was able to apply even a coat of primer, so much had to be done!

I thought I'd stain the floor panel of our vessel. Travis helped me, in the shade of the pine straw trailer, apply it with a roller. As I stood up to admire my work, I hit my face on the hitch of the trailer! Remember that busy day when I came behind the counter with ice applied to my face? Yeah, it was then. I told people that H&Z's very own Travis hit me. Was pressing charges too much? Naaaah.

Here Buddy and Mary-Ann raise the skull and cross bones during our setup at the Roundhouse.

Here are some pirates you might recognize at the Garden Expo's Preview Party!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Second Place-Arrrrrrh, maties!

The Wilmington Island store took second place with its exhibition garden at the Savannah Garden Expo last night! The construction that was taking place in the back of our store came together beautifully in the form of a pirate ship garden complete with water and a dock. We hope you make it to the Expo to see our garden and the efforts of everyone else involved.

Please grab a treasure map from in front of our garden, because you never know where it might lead you!

Stay tuned for photos!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pay Attention To The Weather And Water!

Alright, as much as I hate to think about it, we should be planning for a late freeze to take place this week. I blame the weather men and women. Obviously, they did not do the correct interpretive dance. So, plants are money. Let's talk about ways to protect them.

1. Hanging Baskets-Place them in a garage or shed. If they can't be put there, place on the ground, water, and cover.

2. Water EVERYTHING. Focus on saturating the soil over the foliage. Professional growers have specific ways of protecting plants by wetting the foliage. I don't recommend this for the average Joe.

3. Chances are most of your flowering containers, Summer vegetables, and herbs will need to be covered. Even plants that are not normally cold sensitive should be protected if purchased recently. They may have been grown in a hot house, and they've not had a chance to harden off.
Give them a good drink of water and cover them with burlap, sheets, or towels. Not plastic. Secure the edges on the ground so that wind will not destroy your efforts.

4.Get out your strings of lights! By trimming your plants, you can protect them. The lights will raise the temperature. Follow these safety tips: use outdoor cords and lights, don't let hot lightbulbs sit on foliage or sheets, and be sure to undo all of this the next morning. Check out this LSU page on protecting citrus.

You may not be able to get row covers by this point in the game, but I'm posting this video to give you an idea of how to cover your garden. You could make the hoops out of something from the hardware store. Creativity saves the day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

H&Z Newer News

Hester & Zipperer on Wilmington Island is once again selling tickets for the N.O.G.S. Hidden Garden Tour. They are $45.00/person, and totally worth it, because there are even more gardens this year. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $40.00/person.

Hester & Zipperer on Wilmington Island will raffling off two tickets for the N.O.G.S. tour. One chance is $5.00. If your name is drawn you will receive the two tickets.

All proceeds will benefit the Mr. B Memorial Feral Cat Spay & Neuter Fund at Islands Vet Clinic.

For those of you that don't know, Mr. B is the fabulous gray cat that we had here until his passing a few months ago.

H&Z News In A Peat Pot

Many of you stopped by last week and found our store overrun with floral invaders. It seems that Mary-Ann dorked out and ordered 47,362 hanging baskets. We were shoving them everywhere. Customers were told to stand like the Bird Girl statue and hold them, those that visited our facilities may have found a Wandering Jew or Pothos creeping under their stall. They were every where! There is still a very good selection! Come get them before they steal our souls.

In other news, I found someone's creative expression with an ink pen on our counter yesterday. As much as I appreciate abstract art, I found their efforts unsatisfactory. The artist should keep an eye out on their kitchen counter for my own artistic endeavor.

We are busy putting together containers for the Savannah Garden Expo! That group of pots and hanging troughs at the front corner of the nursery are not just forming a Plant Union. They are getting ready to to take their spots in the lime light. Please come and see our, dare I say KICK Aster exhibition garden!

A lot of you are coming in for mole cricket treatments now, but it is important to evaluate your lawns before deciding you have a problem. Moles don't mean mole crickets. Moles eat earth worms more than mole crickets. Also-you could have a fungus, not an insect problem. Got little mounds of dirt? Not necessarily mole crickets. Many insects that don't harm your lawn make them. Especially after a rain. So, remain calm, and we'll set you up with the right product.

It's going to be rainy today, so I'd like to invite all of you to come to the nursery today without your reading glasses. We'd really appreciate it if you would ask us to come out in a down pour and pick up each and every nursery pot to tell you the price. We REALLY like to read the tags with plant information in high wind and hail. Snow storms are even better! Luck folks in Fargo get all the breaks.